Commentary

Of planners and horses

Once again, I’ve had the audacity to suggest that cars are not evil incarnate, especially considering what they replaced. My most recent blog post on Planetizen.com draws on an excellent article in the transportation journal Access, that suggests that horses were terrible for the environment and cars were, at least incrementally, better all the way around. The post and response from various professional planners (some of whom make sane and lucid comments) can be found here. In closing, I’ll quote from one of the responses:

I agree that there was a tremendous environmental benefit to motor vehicles replacing horses in cities – but there was not a great benefit to the tremendous increase in mobility that the automobile brought, as Mr. Staley seems to think.

Samuel R. Staley, Ph.D. is a senior research fellow at Reason Foundation and managing director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University in Tallahassee where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in urban planning, regulation, and urban economics. Prior to joining Florida State, Staley was director of urban growth and land-use policy for Reason Foundation where he helped establish its urban policy program in 1997.